Gwong Zau 廣州 is the Cantonese name for the city of Guǎngzhōu, capital of the Chinese province of Canton (Guǎngdōng 廣东).
With a millenary culture and language, this flourishing city has been the most important seaport in southern China since the time of the Hàn 漢朝 dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.), and a key place in the development of arts such as painting, calligraphy, architecture, opera and martial arts.
Gwong Zau Kung Fu is a site dedicated to Chinese Culture in general, and to Chinese Martial Arts in particular. In it we will share information and opinions about Kung Fu, Chinese calligraphy, the world of tea and many other aspects of Chinese culture and tradition.
There is nowhere to arrive except the present moment.
Thich Nhath Hanh
Gōng fu 功夫 is a term that can be translated as "mastery". It consists of two Chinese characters: 功 gōng, which literally means "work", "skill", "success", and 夫 fu, which translates as "man" or "person". Gōng fu is therefore a personal ability achieved through time by a prolonged practice that requires effort, patience and dedication.
Recently, and especially in the West, the term has been associated with the practice of Chinese Martial Arts, whose romanized name has taken the standard form Kung Fu. Nevertheless, in the same way that a martial artist has to develop his gōng fu, the same thing happens with any other person who wants to reach a high degree of mastery in his art. Calligraphy and the art of tea are considered, both, gōng fu. Of a chán 禪 master we say that he has gōng fu. The same could be said of a carpenter or any other highly skilled professional.
And gōng fu is, above all, a way of being present, since it requires attention and concentration that unites us indissolubly to the here and now. Through the development of gōng fu we can achieve full realization as persons, guide ourselves by virtue and discipline and, finally, be happy in the present with whatever we live at each moment.
Traditional Chinese Martial Arts are a set of very old combat and defense systems that have significantly influenced the rest of the martial styles of the world. Formerly referred to as wǔ shù 武術 ("martial arts") or guó shù 國術 ("national arts"), today they are popularly known as Kung Fu 功夫.
The Chinese culture (中華文化 Zhōnghuá wénhuà) is one of the oldest in the world. We will deal here with the customs, ideas, traditions and other aspects of Chinese thought, without pretending to imply that China as a nation has a single culture, for it is composed of a rich mosaic of ethnic groups, religions and philosophical currents that blend and overlap with each other to produce one of the richest cultural environments on the planet.
Qi Gong and TCM
Qì gōng 氣功 (or Chi Kung) is a kind of exercise that makes use of the energy (qì 氣) that circulates through the body and permeates all things. It is a fundamental practice of both Martial Arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine (中醫 zhōng yī) or TCM.
Calligraphy (書法 shūfǎ) is one of four traditional arts (四藝 sìyì) of China. Practiced with brush and ink on a type of rice paper known as xuān (宣紙 xuānzhǐ), it is also considered a way to cultivate character. Mastery of the technique requires years of practice and a high degree of attention and patience; in short, of gōng fu 功夫.
Gong Fu Cha
In China, the tea preparation ceremony is known as gōng fū chá 功夫 茶. As we already know, gōng fū means "mastery", "skill"; and chá 茶 means "tea." This expression indicates that a certain degree of gōng fū, of skill, is necessary in the preparation of tea.
Meditation is a fundamental part not only of Eastern Martial Arts, but also of many philosophical-religious systems, as well as a practice that has been proven very useful in maintaining people's mental and emotional balance.
China has a fascinating history, and has been the epicenter of some of the world's most extensive and powerful empires. Although here we will focus primarily on the history of Chinese Martial Arts, we do not want to set aside other areas, characters and events of interest.
The Chinese nation has a rich philosophical tradition that goes back to antiquity. Concepts such as yīn-yáng 陰|陽, dào 道, qì 氣, etc. were formulated by the Chinese through observation of nature and human society and mind, and they have lasted until our days, awakening the interest of people from all the nations of the globe.
Poetry and Literature
The Chinese nation is one of the most prolific in terms of literary and poetic production. The Chinese language, which also served as a vehicle for the transmission of culture, maintained its dominant position even in periods of foreign domination, during the Mongolian and Manchu dynasies.
Poetry has always been one of the most appreciated arts in China. In the past, its appreciation extended to all layers of society, and already in ancient times there were poetic contests (dǒu shī 鬥詩) that were practiced at festivals and banquets and adopted different forms, usually involving the consumption of wine among the participants.Read more...
The concept of dāntián 丹田 (“elixir field”) is key to understanding qìgōng 氣功. This term remains full of mystery even in our day. In order to understand what the dāntián is, we must go back to its origins in Taoist internal alchemy (內丹術 nèidān shù).Read more...
Habits in tea consumption have changed a lot throughout history. Currently, tea is consumed as an infusion, but this method began to be used only in the Míng 明 dynasty. Until then, the preparation of tea went through several very interesting stages, which gave rise to the expression “eating tea”.Read more...